How to Sort and Filter in Microsoft Excel

By Francine Richards

Manipulating data is a key feature of Microsoft Excel. The program, used to create spreadsheets for review and analysis, allows great flexibility in sorting data. Excel allows you to complete the sort command with two to three clicks. Additionally, it allows you to filter out any data that you do not want to appear on your spreadsheet or within your sort.

Step 1

Open Microsoft Excel and go to "File" and "Open" to open the document containing data you want to sort and filter. Highlight the document and click "Open." The document will open in a new window.

Step 2

Highlight the data you want to sort. You may select an entire worksheet, a column, multiple columns or specific data within a column.

Step 3

Complete a simple sort by selecting the "Home" tab from the ribbon and from the "Editing" group selecting "Sort and Filter."

Step 4

Click the appropriate option that matches your preferred sort. For example, if your data is a group of dates, click "Sort Oldest to Newest" or "Sort Newest to Oldest." If your data is text, select either "Sort A to Z" or "Sort Z to A." If your data consists of numbers, select "Sort Smallest to Largest" or "Sort Largest to Smallest." The sort will occur upon clicking this command.

Step 5

Complete an advanced custom sort by selecting "Editing", "Sort and Filter" and "Custom Sort." Select the appropriate options for your sort from options that include columns, value or order---with or without the column headers. You may also sort by multiple levels. For example, your data may be sorted alphabetically at the first level and by date at the second level.

Step 6

Filter your data by selecting "Home," the "Editing" group and "Filter." A drop-down arrow appears next to the first cell of data. Click the drop-down and uncheck any data that you want to filter out. You may perform a sort based on the data that remains.